Mark Twain

The Superb” and the “City of Palaces” are names which Genoa has held for centuries. She is full of palaces, certainly, and the palaces are sumptuous inside, but they are very rusty without and make no pretensions to architectural magnificence. “Genoa the Superb” would be a felicitous title if it referred to the women.

The ladies and gentlemen of Genoa have a pleasant fashion of promenading in a large park on the top of a hill in the center of the city, from six till nine in the evening, and then eating ices in a neighboring garden an hour or two longer. We went to the park on Sunday evening. Two thousand persons were present, chiefly young ladies and gentlemen. The gentlemen were dressed in the very latest Paris fashions, and the robes of the ladies glinted among the trees like so many snowflakes. The multitude moved round and round the park in a great procession. The bands played, and so did the fountains; the moon and the gas lamps lit up the scene, and altogether it was a brilliant and an animated picture. I scanned every female face that passed, and it seemed to me that all were handsome. I never saw such a freshet of loveliness before. I did not see how a man of only ordinary decision of character could marry here, because before he could get his mind made up he would fall in love with somebody else.

Mark TwainThe Innocents Abroad
Charles de Brosses

The most beautiful of all of Genoa’s palaces is in my opinion the Gerolamo Durazzo Palace in via dei Balbi. How will I ever be able to remember all that I have seen therein?

Charles de Brosses1739
Evelyn Waugh

It is a museum of mid-nineteenth-century bourgeois art in the full, true sense, that the campo of Genoa stands supreme. If Pere Lachaise and the Albert Memorial were obliterated, the loss would be negligible as long as this great repository survives.

Evelyn WaughA Tourist in Africa, London 1960
Charles Dupaty

… If you wish to see the most beautiful street in the world, go to the Strada Nuova in Genoa…a host of palaces vying for beauty, height, volume, flaunting their porticoes, facades and peristyles which sparkle with stuccoes of white, black and a thousand colours. They are paintings externally.

Charles Dupaty1785
Richard Wagner

I have never seen anything like this Genoa! It is something indescribably beautiful, grandiose, characteristic.I really would not know how to start explaining the impression that all this has had and is continuing to have on me… To offer you on your birthday what I deem the greatest gift, I promise to take you on a trip to Genoa next spring.

Richard WagnerRichard Wagner to Minna Wagner, 1853
Jules Janin

… As with Capitoline Hill, Genoa was built for eternity…

Jules Janin1838
Joseph Autran

(Following the description of the Strada Nuova) – Indeed there is nothing more beautiful than this street of palaces, a true monumental gallery that extends infinitely. Each palace is truly a marvel and would require a week to visit it…The

Joseph Autran1840
Charles Dickens

I little thought, that day, that I should ever come to have an attachment for the very stones in the streets of Genoa, and to look back upon the city with affection as connected with many hours of happiness and quiet! But these are my first impressions honestly set down; and how they changed I will set down too. At present, let us breathe after this long-winded journey.”

“When shall I forget the Streets of Palaces; the Strada Nuova and the Strada Balbi! Or how the former looked one summer day, when I saw it underneath the brightest and most intensely blue of summer skies: which its narrow perspective of immense mansions, reduced to a tapering and most precious strip of brightness, looking down upon the heavy shade below!

Charles DickensPictures from Italy
Gustave Flaubert

Now I am in a beautiful city, a truly beautiful city: Genoa. I walk on marble, everything is made of marble: stairs, terraces, palaces. A city of marble, with gardens full of roses. A beauty that tears the soul…

Gustave Flaubert1845
Blasco Vigente Ibanez

Genoa is a city of marble… forty-seven palaces, all splendid in their interiors, and all of marble from the foundation to the last balustrade, can be counted in the four streets that comprise the backbone of the city…

Blasco Vigente Ibanez1846
Nathaniel Hawthorne

(After having visited Balbi Palace) – The painted ceilings in these palaces are a glorious adornment; the walls of the saloons, incrusted with various-colored marbles, give an idea of splendor which I never gained from anything else. The floors, laid in mosaic, seem too precious to tread upon.

Nathaniel Hawthorne1858
Henry James

The most winding and incoherent of cities, the most entangled topographical ravel in the world.

Henry James